Is Nanny/Boss Relationship Crossing the Line?

opinion 1
I have been an on call nanny for this family for the past two months and they have two beautiful kids. The dad works a lot and is gone most of the time and the mom is a stay at home mom. At first they were really good and made plans ahead of time, but now whenever I babysit they call me right before they want me to be there, and I feel like the mom is mad if I can't do it. Also, we are more like friends now so I feel bad whenever I can't do it.

Whenever I get paid, it usually takes a while and I have to keep asking about it. If they give me a time that they will be back, it is almost never then and they never text and say that they will be late, and sometimes it is a few hours later than what they originally said. I spend the night there several nights a week, and when I do the mom always wakes me up and asks if I can get up with the kids. I'm not really paid for this time, while she sleeps all day. I don't know if I am being taken advantage of or not, or if this is normal especially since we are friends. I am not the type of person that would take up for myself easily.


alex said...

You are definitely being taken advantage of. I used to get called all the time with no notice and I started saying no. These were things they knew they had and just forgot to ask me. Well, by always being available I made it seem like I had no life. So I stopped being so available and started being asked more in advance! Also, they should be paying you either at the end of each shift or once a week. You need to make sure you do not leave without being paid. Not fair. And you need to be getting paid for those morning shifts and late nights. I would sit down with them and tell them you feel you are being taken advantage of. If you are friends with her, she should understand.

RBTC said...

sigh, these situations are so hard, like a "war of attrition", zinging and zanging at you piece by piece

i also could not take up for myself when i was younger and got taken advantage of - and still do sometimes

do the following - write out your expectations just like you did here on this blog

actually everyone on this blog re iterates that you need a contract stating the hours/payments etc

then the passive-aggressive way to do it would be to say " here is my comfort level" and even shed a tear while saying how great the kids are

and show her your list of expectations

find ways to use the kids names in the conversation ie to be the best nanny for j and c i need this comfort level to be fulfilled

are you ok if they fire you? even if they are friends?

because this mother is very very manipulative and trust me - trust me - she knows exactly what she is doing psychologically - you are young and a pleaser and consider yourself a friend and she is a master lazy manipulator - this is not a co - incidence

your other choice is to keep taking it

let us know what you decide - best wishes

Beth said...

Yes. You are being taken advantage of.

It will continue unless you speak up. PP offered good advice on how to deal with that situation.

If they are the good people you say they are they will do right by you.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

There is no doubt in my mind they are taken advantage of you to the fullest. You say they are your friends, but I seriously doubt friends treat their friends this way. MB is probably acting like your friend so she can get away with doing this kind of stuff to you. Do not fall for it. She is conning you.

I know it is hard to speak up for yourself but you have to. You can text her or e-mail her if it makes it less painful for you, but you need to nip this in the bud quick. If she gets mad at you, so be it. You state this is only an occasional babysitting position so you can always seek another one.

Best of luck to you.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

Are you sure that this job is worth it? At first it seemed like it was an occasional gig but then you said it was a few nights a week. If it is a few nights a week, why don't they tell you more ahead of time? Seems a bit strange to me. Usually, an on-call job gets paid extra for the hours that you are on-call. I am betting that you don't so that just makes you a "last minute" babysitter.

First off, if they are not paying you to be on-call, you need to require a minimum time in advance that they need to give you notice. For example, 48 hours. So if they want to Wednesday at 5pm, they need to request you by Monday at 5pm. Secondly, you need to approach MB about not being paid for the hours. I would also suggest writing it down so that there is no question. Also, agree to be paid at the end of each shift. Since you never know when you will be babysitting, it would be safer to just collect the money when you leave each time. I think you should bring up all these points at once, that way you just get it out of the way.

Tashinalove said...

Listen, I know it can be very difficult to ask for what you deserve, but this is YOUR life, and no one is going to create the life you want, for YOU. You need to make a CHOICE to respectfully demand fair treatment, and if they choose not to deliver, then choose to no longer work for these people. It's as simple as that.

MissMannah said...

OP, I want you to do a quick experiment for me. Read over what you wrote, but imagine it is someone you care about saying it, such as you sister or best friend. She is saying her boss:

**does not give notice of when she will work and makes her feel bad if she's not able to work
**does not ever pay her on time and she always has to ask the boss for the paycheck
**rarely lets her off on time
**makes her spend the night at their house and then wake up with the kids
**does not pay her for extra time worked

If your sister or good friend was telling you all this, you would be furious at her boss! You are having a hard time seeing that you're being taken advantage of because you are the one in the situation. If it was someone else saying it, it would be painfully obvious. I agree with what Two Cents said about this MomBoss not really being your friend. I think you and she have gotten comfortable with each other and you may be friendly, but you are definitely not friends. Friends take care of each other and they look out for each other. She is treating you really badly, and to be honest I think even if you stand up for yourself, it won't do any good. I would advise you to just find some other arrangement and cut your losses.

Phoenix said...

don't babysit for them anymore. They are taking advantage of you. You don't have to confront them just say that you are busy when they ask and recommend someone you don't really like to take your place :)

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

This woman is not your friend. She is exploiting the fact that you BELIEVE she is your friend in order to make unreasonable demands on you. SHE has crossed the line, and if you want to keep working for them, you need to re-establish boundaries.

Send her an email addressed to "My Babysitting Clients". In that email, outline your expectations for advance job notice, and the charge for a last minute call. Outline your rates, and include your late fees for being more than X hours late returning. You also need to include your overnight rates, and define when your regular rates start again in the morning after an overnight.

I'd do something like this, with pricing based on my area and experience:


I am so glad to have the opportunity to work with you and care for your children when you need me. I wanted to let you know of some changes to my fees for 2012.

In order to accept a babysitting job, I need 48 hours notice. I do know that emergencies occur: if you are not able to give me 48 hours notice, there will be a fee of $25 for short notice job that I choose to accept.

My rates for 2012 start at $15 per hour, and increase based on the number of children I will be caring for during my stay at your house.

I am also instituting a "late fee" of $20 for jobs that last past 1 am, and I am now charging $75 to stay overnight at your house if you wish me to be there to care for your children in the morning after your night out.

If I do stay at your home to help in the morning, my regular $15 per hour rate goes into effect at 7am and continues until I leave your home and stop caring for your children that day.

I do require full payment at the end of my shift, and I now ask for a deposit of $50 to hold your requested time slot for your family. I have established a paypal account that can be used to make both reservation payments and babysitting fee payments.

Thank you for being a terrific client! I look forward to seeing you and your children soon,


Bekah said...

You're completely being taken advantage of. I'd cut ties with them before it gets worse (because it will) and you end on worse terms.

Phoenix said...

talesfromthe(nanny)hood had a good suggestion. I think that if you do this you will aproac the situation as business deal rather than a personal attack. You can make it look like this outline is givin to all parents you babysit not just her. Also you should give a plan like that to all employers.

I agree with tales

StrawberryShortKakes said...

While I like the ideas that "tales" gave you, I think it's a little strange to just start having those fees and things all of a sudden. Especially since you seem like you have let this MB/"friend" get away with so much up until this point, I bet she will read this email and be speechless. Don't get me wrong, I think you deserve to be paid for every hour you work and for the overnights and such but it's just a little weird to just all the sudden come out with all these demands (again, they aren't unreasonable, just the timing is strange). Then again, it would actually be successful... what the heck do I know?

OP said...

I really don't believe that she is friends with me just so that she can take advantage of me...There have been times where I needed her at 4 in the morning and she is always there when I do.She has tons of good qualities and things that make the job enjoyable that she does. I just feel like I am more dedicated in a way to the relationship than she is.

RBTC said...

i have had several friendships where they do nice things, they are there when i need them, - but the price comes - they see a resource i have - money,jobs,time - and they get their pound of flesh

the resource you have is time

so the question is - the "help" she is giving you - is it quid pro quo - worth the time she is manipulating from you?

cause she is good - she totally knows what she is doing

tales presentation should be framed and taught in business classes everywhere

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

StrawberryShortKakes, if OP wants to move a work relationship back into work territory and have boundaries, then she can do that with my suggestions. Either things will improve or she will no longer be taken advantage of by this family. IMO, either of those is a good thing.

It doesn't really sound like OP is ready to either make positive changes or cut this family loose though, so who knows what she'll choose to do!

MissMannah said...

I agree with you Tales. OP isn't ready to makes changes. She asked for help and when we offered advice, all she could come back with was defensiveness. Obviously she did not read my post where I asked her to be objective! This is how we can see that the MB does not truly consider herself a good friend to the OP, we are objective observers, we aren't emotionally involved like OP is. Oh well, we tried.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I agree with you Tales that OP doesn't seem ready to make these changes with the family, that's what I meant by saying it would be strange to sound so demanding in an email when she has been, for lack of a better word, a pushover. She DOES deserve to be compensated, yes, but going from being a pushover to standing up for yourself is a big leap. Not to mention the fact that OP feels that she is friends with MB (which may be true). Therefore, I suggested that OP start fresh with a new family, but you may be right... she may not even take any of this advice.

oh well said...

OP, you sound like a good person.
Sounds like you are more in a barter kind of situation with this family, since you don't get paid regularly, and you don't get paid for all the hours you spend in her home. If we pretend that everything is OK moneywise (which is obviously not the case) and consider only your friendship with the mom, the question is this: do you feel that you are getting as much as the mom out of your relationship? Only you can answer this question and I think you already know the answer.
I'll tell you what I am worried about specifically. You say that the mom is mad if you tell her you can't babysit for her. Now a real friend would not do that. It sounds like the mom is emotionally blackmailing you. Not a healthy situation at all. And I am not even talking about the money.